Saturday, October 01, 2016

Who, Exactly, Is It Who Should Apologize for Slavery and Make Reparations? America? The South? The Descendants of the Planters? …

The Washington Post's Ishaan Tharoor reports on a UN panel arguing that "The history of slavery in the United States justifies reparations for African Americans" (thanks to Daniel Aronstein).

I wrote about what follows 19 years ago, when the topic came up during the Clinton administration. Shortened versions of the post below appeared in the International Herald Tribune, in the Washington Post, and in Le Monde (and I admit to feeling honored when a college professor of philosophy later contacted me to ask to include my letter to the WaPo editor in his course book).

Notice that in 1997, all that was being asked for was an apology, and (to his credit) Bill Clinton did not give one. Only a dozen years later or so did the Congress vote for this — with one leftist lawmaker wondering "why nobody ever thought of doing so before" (perhaps, answered one pundit, because 600,000 Americans happened to have died between 1861 and 1865). And now, the liberals have gone to the next step and ask for reparations… (Nor will that be the end of it…)

Related: Richard Epstein on The Case Against Reparations for Slavery.

Having said that…

    I SHOULD LIKE TO KNOW ON BEHALF OF WHOM, exactly, slavery should be apologized for and whom remedies should be made to. I myself, like the majority of today's U.S. population, am descended from immigrants who arrived after the turn of the 20th century and therefore have nothing to do with the treatment of blacks on the plantations (or that of Indians on the plains, for that matter).

    As for Americans living at the time slavery existed, over twice as many whites lived in states where slavery was illegal and where it had been so, for the most part, since before the French Revolution. Nobody can hardly apologize for the South either, since most whites even there — two thirds of them, to be precise — did not own a single slave.

    Maybe somebody should apologize for the planters and slaveholders? (Their descendants?) But they inherited the system they dwelled in, and although they certainly did little if anything to change it, in what way are they more guilty than the English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and other European nationals who introduced it in all their colonies (including, of course, the future United States) and whose only reason for not introducing it onto the European continent proper (as well as the North of the future U.S., needless to say) was the absence of a propitious climate?

    And how, finally, are the above-mentioned whites more guilty than the Arab traders and, especially, the African tribes whose warriors raided neighboring villages to gain slave labor (slaves of the same skin color in this case) themselves or to sell their enemies to the Europeans?

    Speaking of the "dark continent":  Did not Mungo Park note during his 1799 Travels in the Interior of Africa that the slaves in that part of the world "are nearly in the proportion of three to one to the freemen", unable to leave "a state of hopeless and hereditary slavery" which "probably had its origin in the remote ages of antiquity"?  Didn't he further report that during times of great scarcity, there "are many instances of freemen voluntarily surrendering up their liberty to save their lives"?  The Scottish explorer was told that, during one drought, "many freemen came and begged, with great earnestness, to be put upon [a] slave-chain, to save them from perishing of hunger."

    That's true, isn't it?  In the past, when poverty was the norm for the vast majority of the human race — whichever continent they came from — slavery, or some type of bondage (racial or same-race), was likewise the norm, poverty's Siamese twin, if you will; that would be before humanity was on the path to making significant leaps forward to wealth, mainly following… the birth of the United States and thanks to… the yields of its free market.

    And speaking of remedies, didn't as many Americans die in the Civil War as in all of America's 20th-century wars combined? Didn't one Southerner of military age out of four lose his life in the conflict? How many bereaved families is that, altogether — North and South? And apologies, and remedies are still supposed to be owed?!

[Update: See also the New York Times' 1619 project of 2019]

Friday, September 30, 2016

Histrionics rule the day: Shouldn't "Black Lives Matter" ought to start calling themselves "Facts Don’t Matter"?

The quickest way to tell that the Black Lives Matter version of the Charlotte shooting is disintegrating,
writes Benny Huang,
is that the most basic facts of the case are now being declared irrelevant. Corine Mack, president of the Charlotte chapter of the NAACP, told CNN’s Carol Costello that “In my mind, and in most of the community’s mind, it doesn’t matter if he [Keith Scott] had a gun.”

It doesn’t matter if he had a gun? Actually, yes it does. The gun is the sticking point of the entire debate, the hinge upon which so many judgements turn. Take, for example, the cell phone video released by Scott’s widow, Rakeyia Scott, in which she pleads with the police not to shoot because, in her words, “He has no weapon.” Her statement is oddly incongruous with the police’s shouted commands to “Drop the gun!” If he did in fact have a gun, the officers’ actions appear justifiable. If he was only holding a book, as the Black Lives Matters movement contends, then the incident appears to be a coordinated attack on an innocuous citizen. So did he have a gun or didn’t he? It makes a difference.

The fact that the police were ordering Scott to drop his weapon demonstrates at least that they thought he had a gun. Purveyors of the book theory are implying that a book looks like a gun to racist southern cops when a black man is holding it. But this wasn’t a case of misperception—the police did recover a pistol at the scene, a possibility that Corine Mack almost certainly dreaded, hence her clever hedging. The pistol was covered with Scott’s fingerprints and blood, and it was apparently stolen property.

Scott’s supporters are now resorting to outlandish conspiracy theories to explain away the gun. Not only did the cops shout “drop the gun” for the benefit of the camera, but apparently they also planted the gun afterward, laced with fingerprints and DNA, all so they could shoot an unthreatening, unarmed black man while he read a book and waited for his son to get off the school bus.

Rakeyia Scott’s shrieking pleas to the cops seem criminal in light of the fact that her husband was in fact armed with a pistol. The police were caught up in a tense situation with an armed suspect and she was interfering with their duties.

 …/… Rakeyia Scott doesn’t see anything wrong with her lie because the facts of her husband’s violent history and criminal gun ownership are irrelevant to her. Nor do they matter to the NAACP and, if their chapter president’s statement is accurate, they don’t matter to Charlotte’s black community. Facts never seem to matter when a black criminal gets shot. Take for example the unnamed neighbors who claimed that they also saw a book in Scott’s hand, thus corroborating the widow’s story and painting the cops as liars. It’s Ferguson 2014 all over again, with the black community saying whatever they have to say to indict the cops. I wouldn’t be surprise if some of the “witnesses” weren’t even there.

Black Lives Matter really ought to start calling themselves Facts Don’t Matter because that’s what they believe. What’s important to them is the narrative—the story that gets told through the media. Luckily for them, the media is predisposed to tell their story for them, regardless of its veracity. The narrative is so well-rehearsed that reporters no longer wait for the facts to come in before dashing off ill-informed pieces filled with factual errors. The vaunted New York Times, for example, tweeted that Charlotte police had killed an “unarmed black man.” Just a mistake? If so, why do these mistakes always seem to portray the cops in the worst light? The Times later “corrected” itself, tweeting that it was still undetermined whether Keith Scott was armed. No, it isn’t undetermined, it’s merely disputed by a few halfwits who cannot and never will accept that a gun was recovered at the scene. The Associated Press ran a story that claimed Scott had been killed by a white police officer. False. Keith Scott was killed by Officer Brentley Vinson, who is black, and by all accounts a great cop.

This shooting should really be a 30-second story on the 11 o’clock local news, and it should go something like this—a violent convicted felon nearly killed a few police officers with a pistol he illegally owned but the officers defended themselves and, unfortunately, the felon died. That’s the no-nonsense version of what happened and it’s exactly how it would have been reported if Keith Scott had been white. The fact that the dead guy was black really shouldn’t be mentioned at all because it implies that he was only killed for being black. There’s zero evidence of that. If they must mention his race they should also mention, over and over again, that the cop who shot him is also black.

But of course histrionics ruled the day and this minor local story became national news. The media merely updated their template with a few details pertaining to this particular case and went to press with the same old story—racist cops murder innocent black man in cold blood for no other reason than his race. To my knowledge, there has never been a police shooting that actually went down this way—at least not in my lifetime. That’s not to say that in every case the police were blameless, though in some they were. In other cases, the cops were too quick to use force, and in others they showed indiscipline, but in no instance that I can think of did police officers gun down a completely innocent black person for no other reason than racial animosity.

But if the facts of the case won’t fit the narrative, it’s the facts not the narrative that Black Lives Matter alter. From “hands up, don’t shoot” to Sandra Bland’s supposed murder, the movement thrives on enormous lies. They seem almost incapable of telling the truth, hamstrung by some kind of mental or emotional roadblock that simply won’t allow an honest accounting of what happened. Charlotte is being terrorized over a lie, just like Milwaukee, Baltimore, and Ferguson before it. No, we don’t need to “understand” the rioters’ grievances because their grievances are bunk. We need to stand up for the truth and good cops.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Is It Betraying One's Principles — and One's Conscience — to Vote for Donald Trump?

As has been said elsewhere, it is quite simple actually:

Ted Cruz is not endorsing Donald Trump, he's voting for him.

That may sound the same but it is quite a different thing.

There are excellent reasons to be in the #nevertrump group, but if the Supreme Court is in the balance, and that for the next generation — while President Hillary uses immigration to make the entire nation, like California, a one-party state/nation — won't our deepest principles have ended up being highly harmful to the land we love the best?…

When you think a about it, doesn't this — voting, even for someone you find despicable, to prevent your country from becoming the banana republic the democrats hunger for — fit the definition of both patriotism and sacrifice while, indeed, quite literally adhering to Ted's "Vote your conscience" clause at the Republican convention?

Ted Cruz explains his decision:
This election is unlike any other in our nation’s history. Like many other voters, I have struggled to determine the right course of action in this general election.

In Cleveland, I urged voters, “please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket whom you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

I’ve made this decision for two reasons. First, last year, I promised to support the Republican nominee. And I intend to keep my word.

Second, even though I have had areas of significant disagreement with our nominee, by any measure Hillary Clinton is wholly unacceptable — that’s why I have always been #NeverHillary.

Six key policy differences inform my decision. First, and most important, the Supreme Court. For anyone concerned about the Bill of Rights — free speech, religious liberty, the Second Amendment — the Court hangs in the balance. I have spent my professional career fighting before the Court to defend the Constitution. We are only one justice away from losing our most basic rights, and the next president will appoint as many as four new justices. We know, without a doubt, that every Clinton appointee would be a left-wing ideologue. Trump, in contrast, has promised to appoint justices “in the mold of Scalia.”

For some time, I have been seeking greater specificity on this issue, and today the Trump campaign provided that, releasing a very strong list of potential Supreme Court nominees — including Sen. Mike Lee, who would make an extraordinary justice — and making an explicit commitment to nominate only from that list. This commitment matters, and it provides a serious reason for voters to choose to support Trump.

Second, Obamacare. The failed healthcare law is hurting millions of Americans. If Republicans hold Congress, leadership has committed to passing legislation repealing Obamacare. Clinton, we know beyond a shadow of doubt, would veto that legislation. Trump has said he would sign it.

Third, energy. Clinton would continue the Obama administration’s war on coal and relentless efforts to crush the oil and gas industry. Trump has said he will reduce regulations and allow the blossoming American energy renaissance to create millions of new high-paying jobs.

Fourth, immigration. Clinton would continue and even expand President Obama’s lawless executive amnesty. Trump has promised that he would revoke those illegal executive orders.

Fifth, national security. Clinton would continue the Obama administration’s willful blindness to radical Islamic terrorism. She would continue importing Middle Eastern refugees whom the FBI cannot vet to make sure they are not terrorists. Trump has promised to stop the deluge of unvetted refugees.

Sixth, Internet freedom. Clinton supports Obama’s plan to hand over control of the Internet to an international community of stakeholders, including Russia, China, and Iran. Just this week, Trump came out strongly against that plan, and in support of free speech online.

These are six vital issues where the candidates’ positions present a clear choice for the American people.

If Clinton wins, we know — with 100% certainty — that she would deliver on her left-wing promises, with devastating results for our country.

My conscience tells me I must do whatever I can to stop that.

We also have seen, over the past few weeks and months, a Trump campaign focusing more and more on freedom — including emphasizing school choice and the power of economic growth to lift African-Americans and Hispanics to prosperity.

Finally, after eight years of a lawless Obama administration, targeting and persecuting those disfavored by the administration, fidelity to the rule of law has never been more important.

The Supreme Court will be critical in preserving the rule of law. And, if the next administration fails to honor the Constitution and Bill of Rights, then I hope that Republicans and Democrats will stand united in protecting our fundamental liberties.

Our country is in crisis. Hillary Clinton is manifestly unfit to be president, and her policies would harm millions of Americans. And Donald Trump is the only thing standing in her way.

A year ago, I pledged to endorse the Republican nominee, and I am honoring that commitment. And if you don’t want to see a Hillary Clinton presidency, I encourage you to vote for him.

Monday, September 26, 2016

BBC in Awe of One of Britain's Ambassadors After He Converts to Islam

It would seem that the reception of the UK Ambassador to Saudi Arabia’s conversion to Islam is noted in British and Saudi society for the host’s exquisite taste that captivates its dhimmi guests…
In one of its "usual, fluffy BBC puff piece[s] on The Religion of Peace", the UK's key mainstream media outlet, aka Al-Beeb, is gleefully gushing that the
British ambassador to Saudi Arabia has performed the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca after converting to Islam, complete with photos and praise from Saudi royalty (if you need further background on the Hajj, click here)
reports on the Biased BBC Blog
The Beeb says he made “the holy trip” wearing the white robes traditionally worn for the pilgrimage which re-enacts the actions of the “Prophet Muhammad” (once again Muhammad is referred to as “the Prophet”, as if it is a fact rather than an opinion). Still, let’s hope [that Simon] Collis doesn’t re-enact all of Muhammed’s actions now he has converted.